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Track World Cups and world championships are set for a shake-up this season after a string of rule and scheduling modifications were approved by the UCI’s management committee this week. UCI President Brian Cookson described a need to “move with the times” and improve the sport’s television product, primarily by compressing events and streamlining qualification procedures.
For the first time, women will race the Madison at the world championships. The century-old event in which team partners sling each other on the track has long been the sole domain of men. The change provides parity between men’s and women’s events at worlds.
The omnium will also see extensive changes, eliminating the timed events in favor of four mass-start races (scratch, tempo, elimination, and points), all held on the same day. The changes suit endurance riders, who tended to struggle with the old format’s kilo and flying lap events.
Other changes are designed to compress the overall track program into a shorter timeframe. The sprint adds riders but the top four riders in qualifying will skip straight to the 1/8 finals. In the kilo and 500m time trials, two riders will qualify at once, starting on opposite sides of the track. Finals in the team pursuit will be limited to a race for gold and a race for bronze, there will be no more finals for fifth through eighth.
Back on the road, the UCI also formally announced that it will restart its disc-brake trial on January 1, 2017. As VeloNews previously reported, the trial will require that all disc rotors are smoothed to reduce cuts, and the UCI will review the trial each month.
“While it is important that we safeguard the essence of our cycling disciplines, we also need to be brave and embrace change in order to give our sport real meaning to those who are watching live or on screens across the world,” Cookson said.